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  • Cole Deyo

University of Olivet Spring Sports Preview 2024

With the snow melting, student-athletes start to migrate their way outside for the spring season. As the seasons change, it is important not only to reflect on the accomplishments of the past, but also to have our sights set on the future for The University of Olivet Comets. With the Spring 2024 season there comes a whole new generation of athletes looking to carve their name into the Cutler Event Center. 


Quick Winter Review: 

  • Women’s Basketball made conference for the first time since 2016 

  • Senior, Donovan King and Senior, Dylan Phelps qualify for the NCAA DIII Wrestling Tournament  

  • Senior, Jennifer Mann received four straight years All-MIAA for Swim and Dive

  • Senior, Jordan Brown second straight most important indoor track athlete MIAA   Record Breakers  

    • Senior, Jennifer Mann 100m Breaststroke School Record - Swim and Dive

    • Senior, Jordan Brown 200m Dash MIAA School Record - Track and Field

    • Sophomore, Natalie Johnson 60m Dash School Record - Track and Field

    • Freshman, Devondre Chandler High Jump School Record - Track and Field


Head Coach: Santiago Mendez  

Coach Mendez is excited to bring his time into the 2024 schedule and was eager to offer his insights on the outlook for this upcoming baseball season. The team has crafted a culture that has been in place since Mendez’s time as an assistant coach, he explained that the team slogan is currently #RollComets. This phrase doubles as an acronym encompassing what coach defines as the program's pillars.

These Pillars are graduate, serve others, sacrifice self, lead from the front, enhance the jersey, comet pride, simple savage, pursue greatness, attention, attitude, attack, pull the weeds. With those phrases key to the mentality, it is clear to see the foundation being placed for the culture on the team. 

When asked about some star returners, Coach Mendez was quick to bring up the contributions of Senior Gabe Kirck, Senior Keegan Kuha, Sophomore Bryan Carney, Sophomore Braden Abbott, Junior Mason Cook, and Sophomore Will Myrick.  


The baseball team is not only looking forward to their many conference clashes, but they are also looking forward to spending time on the beach and seeing the ocean for the first time at Myrtle Beach during spring break. Coach talked about how excited the team was at the opportunity to bond, and still get some work in under the sun during break. 


When asked what his favorite part about coaching this particular group of guys was, Mendez responded with, “My favorite part about coaching this group is their willingness to be coachable and want to learn more. These guys come to practice every day with the right attitude to be a competitive ball club.” 




Head Coach: Michaela Hamilton  

Coach Michaela Hamilton was gracious enough to talk about the change of branding and culture her team has undergone. With the new University of Olivet of name, the team is looking to leave all shortcomings in the past with Olivet College, and use their young squad to invigorate some life into the program and to stir some things up in the conference.  


Despite having a ton of new faces, Coach Hamilton made it a point to bring up the seniors who are going to be leaving it all out on the field this year. These players include Senior Meredith Morell, Senior Brie Broderick, Senior Emily Keeler, and Senior Madison Bailey. Along with those savvy veterans there is Sophomore Mattie Akom, Sophomore Violet Porter, and Sophomore Corina Hernandez. 


When asked about her favorite qualities of the group coach Hamilton said, “This group has a lot of different, unique personalities and the energy they bring just makes me love what I do even more. They put the work in and I can't ask for a better group going forward. We are young for sure, but we will put up a fight!” With such a strong group of individuals it’ll be exciting to see how Olivet’s Softball writes their story this season.  


Track & Field:  

Head Coach: Karen Lutzke  

When talking to the head coach Karen Lutzke, she put a focus on the individuals to look out for during this season. Below is a list compiled by the coach herself of who to look out for this track and field season. 


Men to look out for outdoors: 

  • Jordon Brown (senior) - Jordon is the defending MIAA Champion in 200/400m and a national qualifier for four seasons. On top of this, he is coming off his best indoor season. 

  • Chris Davis (senior) -Chris is a distance runner with range from 800m to 10k 

  • Charles Miller (senior) - short sprinter 

  • David Sinkler (senior) - thrower 

  • Hunter Hillard (senior) - distance runner 


Top newcomer outdoors: 

  • DeVonder Chandler (Freshman) -DeVondre has made a huge impact in the high jump already this year, winning the MIAA indoors, and potentially becoming a national qualifier. 


Women to look out for outdoors: 

  • Aubrey Connelly (Freshman) - off to a great start during the indoor season 

  • Natalia Johnson (Sophomore) - sprinter who has made huge improvements this indoor season  They were noted for having made huge impacts on the team's success in their respective events:

  • Emily Norkowski (Junior) 

  • London Eldridge (Junior) 

  • Lily Connelly (Junior)  These individuals were specified because of their leadership on and off the track:

  • Abbey Peters (Senior) 

  • Tonya Tepin (Senior) 

  • Allyson Stevens (Senior) 

  • Alex DeVault (Senior)  


When asked what her favorite part of the team was, Coach Lutzke answered, “My favorite part of coaching or working with the student-athletes is that every person has their own personality, and everyone brings something different to a competition or practice.   Every person has the opportunity to contribute to the team whether it is by scoring points, setting records, being leaders, or motivating and encouraging teammates.” 




Head Coach: Brandon Ralston  

The tennis program is coming back with some new courts, and returners are looking to make a lasting impact. For the men’s program, look out for Senior Trevor Lewis and Junior Thayne Bilicki. On the women’s team you’ll recognize Senior Alyssa Davis, Senior Amelia Guerra, Senior Kinsley Noel, and Junior Alania McCormick.  

The teams play April 5-6 home against Albion, April 9 home against Calvin, April 12-13 home against Adrian, and on on April 22 the team will recognize their seniors against Grace Christian. 



Head Coach: Bill Maas  

The golf program will be in full swing this spring as they bring a couple of young rosters into the invitationals. On the men’s side, we get to reacquaint ourselves with Junior Dylan Beck, Junior Connor Jewell, and Junior Colling Moore. It will be important to look out for Freshman Brady Applegate, who was a reoccurring comet of the week during the fall. The women’s program will be boasting returners Senior Rayna Honsowitz, and Junior Rylee Honsowitz heading into spring play. 

Some of the most important events come in the later part of this season for golf. On March 17, the squads will drive to Ohio for the Heidelberg Snowball’s Chance Invitational. On April 17 they’ll round out regular season play with the Albion Invitational. With that, the season will come to a close with April 22-23 consisting of the Women’s MIAA Finals, and April 26-27 will round out the Men’s MIAA Finals. 


Men’s Volleyball:  

Head Coach: Gabe Murley  

Gabe Murley is going to be taking a veteran team into a tough schedule during the later months of the spring semester. Leading the way on the court is Senior Quinn Dickerson, Senior Kai Hartman, Senior Ethan Valente, and Senior Everett Hayes. March 16th sees a home game against conference rivals the Adrian Bulldogs. On March 23 the team will make a home stand against Wittenberg. Senior night concludes with an emotional battle against Fontbonne. 



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